tv Quadriga - The International Talk Show LINKTV February 28, 2016 10:00am-10:31am PST
>> this week on quadriga, antimigrant violence, mob rule in saxony. antimigrant attacks have grown frequent in the german state. last week an angry mob chanted, go home, go home, as refugees arrived in a small town and just a short while later an arson attack also in saxony. as a planned refugee shelter burned onlookers cheered and tried to block the work of the
fire service. there have already been more than 100 attacks on refugees so far this year in germany. saxony is one of the key flash points. why is there such a potential for violence in german society? how can the racist mob be stopped? coming to you from berlin, quadriga, the international debate. your host this week, melinda crane. melinda: hello and welcome. is that potential for violence unique to saxony or is it a problem in germany as a whole? that's one of the things we want to talk about on quadriga today with three people who are following events in saxony very closely. it's pleasure to welcome my colleague, dw's rrespondt foromestic litics a serity matrs. just ca back fr saxon wherhe repord othe late cident a he says the governnt in saxo still hasn'tnderstoo the fight againsthis vionce is major task and needs a proper plan. it is a pleasure to welcome alan
posener back to the show, he says you can find stupid people anywhere in europe. the really dangerous people are the intellectuals who use the mob for their own purposes. and finally we're happy to welcome an expert from migration and diversity at the foundation here in berlin. he says the main stream politicians talk of a flood of refugees, of upper limits, and islamization. all of that is fuel on the fire of right wing extremism. so take us to saxony if you would. what is behind the violence there? who is this mob? >> it's difficult to say really. at the moment they are still investigating into who exactly is behind this, these incidents but it leads to the core of our discussion i think. there is a whole scale of explanations who these people are. it's from extremist right wing
radicalized almost terroristical people toward angry, normal citizens. and somewhere in between these poles you have to search for those people. what we do know is it was about a hundred people that surrounded this bus and a smaller group for example where the refugee shelter burned you had before more than 30 antirefugee initiatives. it is pretty likely people come from this background but you don't know exactly who those offenders were. >> and why saxony? what's wrong with saxony? it has been the site of 20% of all the attacks over the past year although in fact it's only taking 5% of the refugees. going on? >> it is really. i talked to many people there. scientists, politicians, people on the street. you get a whole bunch of explanations and some can't be valid because they would apply
to other states, other parts of germany, too. so there has to be a certain problem in saxony particular in saxony. i'm sure we'll talk about that later but, yeah. it's a mixture i suppose of economical, lack of economic prospects, dissatisfaction with politics in general. there is a certain national regional pride there. so that very interesting mix and bad mix and there's also for a long time a right wing movement that is pretty strong, stronger than in other parts of germany. >> and the former president who is himself from east germany said very recently that he thinks people there are, "more receptive to dehumanizing messages." this a case of incomplete socialization 26 years after the wall fell? why the east? >> well, yes.
it has to do with communism. if you imagine, these -- all of these eastern parts of germany were communist. we have a similar problem in poland, rabid nationalism, similar problem in hung gare ya, most of eastern europe. it has to do with the fact that there was no democratic tradition until 1989. then suddenly the war comes down. these people are incorporated into the west, but there was no real dealing with the question of what is communism, what's bad about communism, what is also bad about certain reactions to communism because they had a right wing problem in saxony even under communist rule only they didn't talk about it. so people, you know, there was sort of an idea in the west that give the people jobs, give the people social security and so on and they'll sort of slowly grow into democracy. and of course for the majority this is true. but for a minority, i think about 20%, this hasn't happened.
and this is the bedrock on which left wing and right wing extremism is building. >> we've talked about it frequently in the past, the fact that there's a lot of racism in places where there is scarcely any diversity. how do account for that? nowell, it shows that this's actual empirical explanation for what's going on. if you look into the situation in saxony, the number of refugees, the number of muslims, etcetera, etcetera, it's far below the average in germany in every german city there are about 10 times more immigrants, refugees, and muslims, etcetera. this is an ideological problem. so it's not an issue of quantity, not the numbers, so there is no empirical explanation. it is not an issue of jobs. dresden is doing quite well.
dresden is doing much better than many other western german cities. so even the economical and social economic situation doesn't apply very much to that. we have an ideological problem and that's why i think this has been neglected for quite a long time. that there is indeed a social problem to deal with to tackle with this, to deal with racism and so on. so many politicians were pretty much concern or even the site was very much concerned with its own image rather than tackle the issues which are at hand. >> i want to come back to the politicians' role in a moment. you mentioned this is a region where there is a strong sense of regional identity, a sense of self-confidence. some people compare it even to bavaria and say the saxons are very proud of their state. how does that fit into all of
this? >> yeah. i mean, it is a very old state. it'ss a short name, saxon, saxony, a long tradition, and it also defines itself by a strong opposition for example to prussia in the past, to berlin. so the people from saxony always had the sense, we are special. we are maybe somehow superior. and i believe that they think that wasn't really recognized by the rest of germany. so the rest of germany hasn't recognized that the saxons are so great and, i mean, they believe that there was too much imposed on them. they had politicians exported to saxony from the west. they had ideas coming to saxony. but if you believe that we are the best we can be with our problems on ourselves and you keep on getting ideas from the outside maybe that has led to a reaction that they said, all right. now i've -- we reject everyone and everything that comes from
the outside and we are ourselves and that's enough. we don't want anything from the outside. >> i also had the feeling when i heard some of the voices of people in saxony that they were saying we're just concerned citizens and actually simply taking the lead in speaking up and saying what other people are too timid to say. do you think it is right to talk about this as largely a problem of saxony or is there in fact a great deal of potential for this violence elsewhere in germany as well? are they speaking for others in other parts of the country? >> this is a very difficult question. in generally don't think dresden is the voice of germany. i don't believe in that. nonetheless i don't think on the other side that dresden is a unique example in germany. there is a movement that says that. -- e is a movement which is
hich is poisoning the climate. the climate of multiple culturalism, the climate of immigration and social cohesion, etcetera. and i'm not sure whether this is -- the situation in dresden represents the atmosphere in other cities. i don't think because there was a similar movement -- a big movement, the european against islamization, and there were some others who copied this kind of movement in berlin, etcetera. and in none of those cities has it been successful as in dresden. so there may be some explanations for saxony. i cannot tell because there is not an empirical explanation why
dresden because saxony has a good educational system. saxony has, and dresden and the area is successful in attracting investors, etcetera, so there are quite good preconditions for a successful society. nonetheless, there is some animosity against everybody who's not from within saxony or maybe from dresden. >> alan, we have talked a lot on this program before about the large dresden based movement of so-called patriotic europeans against the islamization of germany and europe. you say in your opening statement today that intellect chules are inciting violence. we did of course hear a lot of speeches at rallies that were very, very fiery. there were gallows, calls, veiled references to
concentration camps and so on. is that the incitement you're talking about? and if so, does it still fall under the category of free speech? or should authorities be -- have long since taken measures to stop it? >> well, actually, you know, this sort of loose talk inciting to violence isn't what i'm talking about. there has been since reunification in germany an intellectual movement that wants germany to be something other than a western democracy. and these are intellectuals mostly by the way from the west, eople like -- you can name names. they have their own newspapers. the unified young freedom. since 1989 they've been against democracy. they've been looking for a cause to pin their hopes on. first it was we want to revise german history. we don't talk so much about the holocaust, german war guilt and so on.
then it was we are against homosexual marriage. now they've pinned on to this one. and they are using this. they are using the people who demonstrate. they are using people for their own cause. that's the point. so you can't, you know, these are people who have intellectual ideas and you have to discuss those ideas and they don't boil down to gallows. they do at the very end. because in the end they want to get rid of democracy. you have to take these people intellectually seriously. you don't want to condescend and say they haven't got this or the ever. no. these are intellectuals with a mission. >> not just intellectuals. they also have a language, maybe the intellectual side remains pretty, well, serious, they claim to be intellectuals that have to be treated well, but most of the discourse takes place on the internet. whenever you look at the comments below you fine the strongest language and it's also a question, i'm sure, or i know
that security is really concerned by the radicalization of language because they fear it may lead to radicalization of action as well. we are at the stage where language has been radicalized a lot and in the internet in comments you can find really, really hate speech more and more and also from people that used to be maybe in the center of society in the middle of society but have radicalized their language in a way which is very new. >> interestingly enough, if you talk about the radicalization of language, it is interesting to look at the slogan being shouted at those rallies. the protests have coopted the slogan used by east germans when they took to the streets to bring the wall down, namely "we are the people." what was once a call of courage has become a call of exclusion. let's take a look.
>> we are the people chant members of the pagita movement on the streets of dresden every monday. the same cry that went up before east germany fell. now they mean something very different. the situation has been radicalized. >> setting houses on fire isn't the solution but is a sign of discontent and the politicians need to be reminded of what people think. >> has saxony systematically denied and hid anne problem with right wing extremism? many say conservativeism and government here for the past 25 years have done just that. others disagree. >> the people here are not right ing extremists or nazis. they are concerned citizens. >> so are fainthearted politicians who bow to voting power wielded by right wing parties to blame? what has gone wrong in saxony? >> how would you answer that question when it comes to state
politicians? the state premier said this week that he doesn't see any reason to fault himself or his administration over the latest incidents. that he feels that he has continuously fulfilled his responsibility. do you think he's right? >> same procedure as every year. i mean, that's what i really expected him -- that is the most saddest part of that. i mean, it seems like we haven't learned anything from the national socialist underground, which has been primarily -- >> let's remind our viewers that was the group that underground for over 10 years committed murders against people of migrant background with impunity, basically police not doing anything to investigate the murders for a long, long time. > exactly. >> i heard the police are going to investigate against the refugees for having promoted --
it was the time when people were killed primarily the family members were the suspect and so the police and all institutions were working, focusing primarily on the victims rather than on the perpetrators. so i think we have an institutional problem. this needs to be really scrutinized and politics, etcetera. what we have here is a problem that is a denial of the reality and then the second thing is at we have established especially in parties like the a.f.d., alternative for germany, and all of these parties haven't been confronted with the issues, so more or less alan has been
saying they have been jumping issue to issue. on one side it is very dficult to confrt allf the established heads and politicians because most of them are simplify thing against democracy not against certain issues because it was islam. then it was the euro. now it is the refugees. so whatever topic you have it is against this democratic state. how do you confront antidemocratic movement by -- with corpus christi democratic issues? -- with democratic issues and arguments? >> in your research in saxony what were the conclusions that you drew about the complicity or responsibility of local officials? the fact is you say in your opening statement the government of the state has not understood that fighting xenophobia is a major task but that extends to prosecutors in court. they've hardly been falling over themselves to try and charge perpetrators of xenophobia incidents over the past year.
>> they have in fact -- there was an investigation and the people in saxony are quite proud they have a center of -- they call it operative defense center or something like that where they actually went after some of the incidents. when i talked to the interior minister for example and asked why is it always saxony and he said well we have to analyze that now. you ask yourself why do they start to analyze now? this has been a problem for a number of years now and we had the big numbers in saxony and over such a long time and, still, they lack proper strategy and plan and commitment to say, this is our major task. we have to tackle this problem at the very crux of our policies and that is what i'm missing there on the political level. when we talk about the state premier and language, he was the one who said, islam doesn't belong to saxony. nd of course these are
statements that are part of certain climate that doesn't help. and he was also the state premier who didn't go to pegida and say i am against this. he was at the beginning talking about, well, concerned citizens. we have to talk to them for a long time. and he also doesn't take notice that in his own constituency there are 34 initiatives that are actually opposing this refugee shelter. so there are aspects that are really not satisfying when you look at the governmental side in saxony and it's also peculiar in saxony that you had a government of the conservatives for 25 years and this is one of the topics that we have mentioned before. of course it's not a fault of the cdu. i don't want to say that, i don't want to judge there. but it is a special situation. if one party can govern for 25 years it has a certain feeling
to the people and creates a certain climate. one of the state premiers was called king curt. oneven the recent assessment the headmongers he said they are not humans but criminals. you cannot dehumanize these people because the problem is there. it doesn't happen, it is not something like they came there and did all these protests but it is people from saxony and you have to deal with these people and you cannot dehumanize these people. if he says they're not humans but criminals you criminalize and ex-clues the really main stream ideology. it is the main stream ideology you need to tackle. >> that statement was made shortly after these incidents when saxony's politicians began
to realize this was possibly a wakeup call. they've all been calling for saxon citizens to stand up for xenophobia saying their state shouldn't be identified with the angriest of its citizens. take a listen. >> children aren't born right wing. it comes from the situation they grow up in and their social environment. >> haven't addressed this problem in saxony for 25 years. people acted like right wing extremism didn't exist. that's why we're really pushing at the moment to get the people of the silent majority which i'm convinced is there to take a clearer, more conspicuous stand. people from all over the world who have come to our city and feel totally at home in this beautiful city who like working and living here are suddenly fraid to go out on the street.
>> there is an idiom in german quoted quite a lot recently. it goes like this. a fish thinks from the head. if we take that idiom and look at saxony where would you say the buck stops in terms of responsibility for the atmosphere that has been conducive to this violence? is it the local government or does it go all the way to the federal interior ministry, perhaps even to the bavarian sister party of the chancellor's christian democrats? >> no. i mean, yeah. the fish stinks from the head. that is actually a thing used against democracy. things are going wrong here and there and then people say well it is the government's fault. i don't buy that. local government could have done a lot more. the point is 90% of people teaching in saxony school today were teaching in government schools and they set up this whole awe author tore -- authoritarian setup. have you actually talked, there
is sort of loose talk about oh, well in the old days we had the communist regime. now we have the capitalism regime. that's the kind of loose talk which came from the left wing which is now infiltrated into the right wing. is this what i'm getting at? >> you said in your opening statement that politicians are definitely creating the climate. would you even list national politicians among those making mob rule in saxony possible? >> yes. not with the intention but all these arguments have been in fact encouraging those people on the right side. you know, if you talk about the rule of injustice you are addressing politics of welcoming , etcetera, as something injust. whatever you do against that seems like just. >> that was a statement made by the head of the chancellor's sister party the christian social union, looking to win populist support there.
people in saxony are now saying you know what? this could kind up being bad for our economy. international firms may leave. tourists may not come. will that be enough of a wakeup call to get the mob under control? >> maybe. i think they have realized they have a problem now. maybe this was for the first time a strong reaction but it has to be a bigger reaction. it is still not enough. i'm afraid something worse has to happen before people actually wake up and really stand up and grasp this problem as it is as the major problem for them. >> mob rule in saxony. that's been this week's quadriga. and if you would like to see more of the mayor of dresden we are running an interview with him in our programs on sunday. check that out. thanks for being with us. see you soon. óoó?"""#n#n#n#n#n#7